Vale Rudi Gutendorf

Football Federation Australia (FFA) is saddened to learn of the death of former Socceroos coach Rudi Gutendorf, who passed away overnight at the age of 93.

The German-born Gutendorf was in charge of the Socceroos between 1979 and 1981, leading the senior men’s national team to the Oceania Cup title in 1980, a competition won with a largely Under 20-based squad.

FFA Chief Executive David Gallop AM paid tribute, saying “We are sad to learn of the passing of Rudi Gutendorf, who was a quite remarkable football coach.”

“His long and illustrious career saw him coach 19 men’s international teams, plus 2 Olympic teams, and the term ‘globe-trotting’ could certainly have been coined for him.”

“Rudi is ranked eighth in terms of most Socceroos’ games coached, and we are very grateful for his contribution to the game in this country during his time here from 1979 to 1981.”

Gallop added, “On behalf of the entire Australian football family, we pass on our sincere condolences to Rudi’s family and his many friends in football across the world.”

Football historian Roy Hay said “There have been few more flamboyant coaches of the Australian national team than the peripatetic Rudi Gutendorf.”

“He had been inspired to take the job by the Socceroos’ performance at the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 1974, and he wanted to work with Australian-born players rather than those who had come from overseas.”

“He was therefore at the vanguard of youth development and wanted to show the Australian public that football was not ‘foreign’ but a local and international sport.”

Gutendorf’s record with the Socceroos in 37 ‘A’ and ‘B’ internationals was 15 wins, 10 draws and 12 losses. He finished his 49-year managerial career in 2003, having held 55 coaching positions in 32 countries.

Rudi at the Great Wall of China when he was there with the Socceroos
Gutendorf at the Great Wall of China while he was with the Socceroos. Photo Credit: Laurie Schwab collection, Deakin University